The 2012 New England Catholic Homeschool Conference (NECHC) will be held on Friday, August 9th, 2013 from 12:o0pm until 8:00pm at UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center and is sponsored by the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and Seton Home Study School (IHM Conferences). This conference is for everyone, not just homeschooling families. All religious are especially welcome. We love children, but must restrict attendance to teens and nursing babies only.
The New England Catholic Homeschool Conference (NECHC) began when three homeschooling friends in New England traveled to New Jersey for the C.H.A.P.L.E.T. conference in 2007. We felt called to bring a Catholic conference to New England because while there are several Christian conferences in New England, none of them invited Catholic vendors. As Catholic women trying to instill a Catholic worldview and faith to their children, we began our journey.
Planning began for the first NECHC in mid-2007. We began with prayer and felt called to rest in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was by His grace that we overcame a variety of hurdles—from unaffordable halls and no money for speakers to lackluster vendor registration. But we were blessed with many friends who took a chance on us, including Seton Home Study, the Pauline sisters, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from the Benedict Center, Bethlehem Books, Home School Legal Defense Association and the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.
The second year brought challenges anew, as the location from the first year (St. George Parish) was no longer available. But after more prayer and more work, it was clear that God wanted this conference to continue. He opened up the door to a wonderful relationship with St. Stanislaus Parish and School in Chicopee, and St. Stan’s still remains the conference food vendor.
Then in 2011, there were many changes—new babies, new jobs, adoptions and health issues—in the lives of our dedicated volunteers. While the work to plan the conference had by that time been divided between the Western Mass Catholic Homeschoolers and Our Lady Queen of Saints homeschool group in eastern Massachusetts, it became clear that our volunteers would not be able to sustain this conference effort. More prayers were offered, and once again, God answered when Thomas More College agreed to plan the conference in the future.
It is apparent from our experience these last several years that God planted this seed, and God has blessed us and helped us to overcome any challenges we have faced. May this conference continue as long as it remains God’s will!